KIPP Massachusetts names Rhonda “Nikki” Barnes next Executive Director

The Board of Trustees of KIPP Massachusetts is excited to share the news that Rhonda “Nikki” Barnes was appointed the new Executive Director of KIPP Massachusetts (KIPP MA). Nikki has over 20 years of classroom experience in elementary, middle, and high school, as well as 10 years of experience working in education non-profit organizations. She came to KIPP MA in 2013 as a 6th grade teacher at KIPP Academy Boston, became the Dean of Students in 2014, and the Principal in 2015. Under her leadership, KIPP Academy Boston experienced some of the highest student growth in the state of Massachusetts, including some of the best performance in reading growth on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment in the KIPP national network. Most recently, Nikki has served as the Chief Schools Officer of KIPP MA, supporting the five school principals. Nikki will be the first Black woman to serve as Executive Director of KIPP Massachusetts. 

Nikki was recommended by outgoing Executive Director Caleb Dolan, who led KIPP MA with excellence for the past 10 years. Reflecting on Nikki’s appointment, Caleb said, “I made the decision to step down because I had the honor working alongside someone who I knew could lead our schools further towards the mission and vision we crafted with our families and alumni. Nikki is an educator with the experience, energy, and imagination to lead the evolution of our schools so that all students realize their aspirations for a choice-filled lives and a more just world.”

Nikki shared her vision for the future of KIPP Massachusetts with the Board, families, and staff throughout a comprehensive hiring process. People across the KIPP community agreed that she will lead with excellence and equity at the forefront for all students, teachers, and families. “I will work to make sure every child is seen, known, loved, and challenged,” Nikki said. “KIPP Massachusetts is a strong region of schools whose alumni are persisting and advancing towards amazing adult lives, where children are growing academically and socially, and where we are taking big steps towards sustainability with our money and our people. This is fertile soil for us to grow even stronger.”

Board of Trustees Chair Amanda Seider says, “Nikki has proven herself time and time again as an exceptional educator, manager, advocate, strategist, and leader. Her focus on equity, critical consciousness, and anti-racist approaches to education will take our work to the next level, and push us all to be the very best we can be in service of students and families.” We are excited for this new chapter at KIPP Massachusetts, and are thankful for Caleb Dolan’s leadership and service over the past 10 years.